Chapters Tea and Coffee Pairs Books with Brews

A person holding a bag of tea and a dog.

A thought had been brewing in Andy Rexford’s mind for some time. Was there a way to combine his love of books with his passion for tea, and turn it into a business?

“I’ve always really liked tea,” Rexford said. “When I left my previous company that got bought out, I wanted to go into writing and spent a year working on a story. I quickly realized that I either needed to get a job or start a business because that wasn’t going to pay the bills.”

A bag of tea sitting next to books.

Rexford explored the idea for several months, talking to suppliers and artists and social media influencers. 

He incorporated the business in January 2023, and in June of 2023, he officially launched Chapters Tea and Coffee, entering the world of online retailers. Working with suppliers, he created a line of teas with names like Second Breakfast, Picnic at Pemberley, and Magical Library Butter Brew that evoke the moods of classic novels, pairing the blends with packaging that tells a story.

Rexford partnered with several Michigan-based artists to create artwork for all of the packaging that would tell the story of each blend while tying in with the theme of books.

“I always knew I wanted the packaging to be something that was aesthetically pleasing. I wanted something that, in the packaging, someone could envision themselves in the drawing,” Rexford said. 

Rexford’s experience in social media helped spread the word, and soon ads were popping up on Facebook and Instagram, as well as trending on Bookstagram and BookTok.

Soon, Chapters Tea and Coffee had thousands of followers and was gaining interest worldwide.

Featured in British Vogue Magazine

In November, British Vogue magazine invited him to appear in their food spotlight for the February issue. It was high praise coming from one of the leading tea-drinking countries in the world.

A bag of tea.

“It was cool that we got on their radar,” Rexford said. “That’s the thing with the influencers that we work with, they have big international audiences. So pretty quickly, I had to start offering international shipping options because so many people across the world, like the U.K., drink tea.”

The online store currently receives approximately 10 to 20 percent of its orders from wholesale, with the majority of orders coming from a growing base of retail customers. Visitors to the site will find a variety of teas that includes black teas, herbal teas and matchas, along with coffees and related accessories.

Giving back

Rexford has paired with Active Minds, a young adult mental health initiative that focuses on advocacy and suicide prevention, to donate 5 percent of sales to the organization.

“I always want to give back as a business,” he said. “I’ve known the founder of Active Minds for years now, and I’ve worked with her on past projects. Their focus is on helping spread mental health awareness, specifically in college.”

Many of the wellness teas in the collection, like Serene Sage and Radiate Positivity, were blended to offer a calming experience.

“I do think tea lends itself well to mental health awareness. It’s a very good self-care option, pairing tea with reading to reduce anxiety.”

Writing a new chapter for the future

Currently, the business operation is located in Ypsilanti. Rexford would like to expand the wholesale business by offering the products to more independent bookstores. One day, he envisions opening a flagship café and bookstore with a tea room.

A glass of tea next to a variety of tea bags.

Rexford also has plans to add to the collection by introducing seasonal and holiday blends. This month, he added a black and white tea selection for Valentine’s Day called “A Date with Mr. Darcy” that is sold in a reusable and sustainable tin.

“The goal is to keep going as deeply as possible into books and reading, and hopefully spreading the message and the experience to as many people as possible,” Rexford said. 

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